About Patti Comeau-Simonson

After my first husband David died of cancer I learned firsthand the grief and helplessness the death of a loved one brings. I found that I was drawn to others who had experienced the same loss, being able to share my story and listening to theirs. It was wonderful to know that I wasn’t going crazy, being with people who truly “get it!”

In time I became a volunteer at a local hospice  with hospice patients and their families. Eventually in 2006 I became a staff member in the bereavement department and went back to school at Mt. Ida College to receive my Certificate in Thanatology.  For a course credit I created and developed a peer facilitator training program where a person who had experienced a loss could go through an extensive training and then be able to facilitate a support group as a peer. These peers are to the participants” living proof that life can be good again.” I call them “Hope Representatives”.

Since the inception of the peer program twenty facilitators have been trained and have served over two hundred families. In 2012 I was honored to be asked to speak about this program at the Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts and in 2013 I received the American Red Cross Healthcare Hero’s Award because of the development of this program  for which I’m truly honored.

In March of this year I retired from my hospice position. This has allowed me to continue on my own journey by offering the Hope and Healing with Peers program to organizations who would like to enhance their bereavement program by training volunteer peer facilitators which will enable them to offer this service to families in the communities.

We will also offer peer led support groups that will be led by our twenty trained “Hope Representatives.”